I’m not a coffee drinker. Never have been. I try to stick with water as much as possible. And when it comes to a hot drink choice, I go with tea.
I know how good it is for me. Tea is full of polyphenols called flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that can help neutralize damaging free radicals.
And that leads to all kinds of great stuff. Here are 3 reasons tea is what you should be drinking in the morning. (And, frankly, all day long!)
Tea benefit #1: It helps you manage stress
You know that coffee exacerbates stress. Too much caffeine, especially late in the day, can make you jittery and even keep you up at night.
Not a good thing for stress.
But you might not know that tea can actually DECREASE stress.
Yes, it’s warm and soothing. But a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that green tea and shaded white tea can help calm you down.1
In case you’ve never heard of shaded white tea (I hadn’t) … it’s specifically grown in perfectly blocked sunlight before plucking. What’s more, it is particularly rich in amino acids, including anti-stress theanine.
For the study, researchers asked adults to do a series of stressful tasks, timing them as they completed eye-crossing math problems, for example, on 3 separate occasions.
After they finished, participants were given either warm water, green tea or shaded white tea. Throughout the experiment, the researchers collected participants’ saliva, which they then tested for known stress markers.
Both green and shaded white tea decreased the stress markers during and after the stressful tasks better than water.
We’re all overtaxed and overstressed. So taking a tea break can really do wonders.
Tea benefit #2: Promotes healthy teeth and gums
You brush, you floss (you do, right?) but did you know that kicking back and drinking some green tea can also help your mouth stay healthy?
In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers looked at the periodontal health of 940 men, and found that those who regularly sipped the green stuff had better periodontal health than those who consumed less green tea.
Credit is most likely due to the catechins in green tea, especially EGCG. These naturally occurring polyphenols not only have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, but also antibacterial activity against a common bacterium that causes gum disease.3
Maybe the American Dental Association should start recommending tea!
Tea benefit #3: Helps keep your weight in check
Those polyphenols that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body? They may also help keep your body fat percentage down.
A large, long-term study in Taiwan found that those who drank at least 1 glass of black, green or oolong tea per week had 20% less body fat and 2% less abdominal fat than those who drank none. Since the results were independent of subjects’ physical activity, food intake and other lifestyle habits, researchers concluded tea was the key to kicking up their metabolism.4
A little tip: The longer you steep the tea, the more flavonoids you’ll get in your brew.
Less stress, better oral health and better body composition? I’ll take another cup of tea, please!
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
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References:1. Yoto A, Murao S, Nakamura Y, Yokogoshi H. Intake of green tea inhibited increase of salivary chromogranin A after mental task stress loads. J Physiol Anthropol. 2014;33:20. PMID: 25034805.
2. Kushiyama M, Shimazaki Y, Murakami M, Yamashita Y. Relationship between intake of green tea and periodontal disease. J Periodontol. 2009;80(3):372-377. PMID: 19254120.
3. Lombardo Bedran TB, Feghali K, Zhao L, Palomari Spolidorio DM, Grenier D. Green tea extract and its major constituent, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, induce epithelial beta-defensin secretion and prevent beta-defensin degradation by Porphyromonas gingivalis. J Periodontal Res. 2014;49(5):615-623. PMID: 24206194.
4. Wu CH, Lu FH, Chang CS, Chang TC, Wang RH, Chang CJ. Relationship among habitual tea consumption, percent body fat, and body fat distribution. Obes Res. 2003;11(9):1088-1095. PMID: 12972679.